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Vegan Pasta Sauce Recipe

Best Vegan Pasta Sauce

The best Vegan Pasta Sauce recipe you’ll ever make. A flavorful San Marzano tomato base, sweet fennel, caramelized onion and rich notes of smoked paprika perfectly coat chewy Bucatini noodles. Easy 1-Pot wonder this simple but oh so flavorful tomato sauce stands out from all the rest.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword pasta sauce, plant based, Sauces, vegan recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Calories 1779kcal
Author Florentina


  • 2 x 28 oz cans San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seed + more to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic grated (optional)
  • 1/3 cup onion chives + fresh basil chopped for garnish
  • 1 lb Bucatini pasta (thick spaghetti or long fusilli noodles)


  • Preheat a heavy bottom large pot over medium heat. Sautée the onion with a pinch of sea salt in a light drizzle of olive oil until it starts to caramelize, a good 25 minutes or so. (Replace oil with veggie stock or water for WFPB + Plantricious compliance).
  • Add the fennel seeds and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds or so.
  • Meanwhile transfer the San Marzano tomatoes to a large bowl and using your hand carefully crush them until a thick rustic texture is achieved.
  • Transfer the tomatoes to the pot with the onions, add the smoked paprika and bay leaves and give everything a good stir.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer and partially cover with a lid. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook for a good 45 minutes to 1 hour until the sauce is nice and thick and concentrated to your liking.
  • Season to taste with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Cook the Pasta:

  • About 20 minutes before your sauce is done start on your pasta water.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with salt before adding your bucatini noodles (pasta water should taste like the sea). Cook until al dente following instructions on the package. It’s VERY IMPORTANT not to overcook the noodles.
  • Using a pair of kitchen tongs transfer the cooked noodles directly into the sauce and finish cooking together for the last minute. Serve topped with the fresh chives, basil and extra red pepper flakes.



  • How do I thicken the sauce? -Simply follow the recipe and simmer down the sauce until thick to your liking. Do not add any thickeners of any sort. To thin out the sauce use some of the pasta cooking water to stretch it to your desired consistency.
  • Can i make the sauce without oil? - Yes absolutely, you can caramelize the onion in some veggie broth or water adding just a little bit of liquid at a time as it evaporates. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn, slow and low is the answer but it needs more care and babysitting. 
  • Storage - any leftover sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week in lidded glass containers or frozen for up to 6 months. Remember to thaw it out before reheating.
  • Note - The sauce should be enough to coat 17.6 oz package of pasta perfectly. The artisan Italian pasta usually comes in that size but the regular store bought brands are usually a standard one pound bag in which case you’ll just end up with extra saucy noodles and I don’t know anyone who ever had a problem with that. 


Calories: 1779kcal | Carbohydrates: 358g | Protein: 63g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 77mg | Potassium: 1473mg | Fiber: 21g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 3175IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 234mg | Iron: 9mg